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Thread: Wisdom of Hazrat Inayat Khan — a Sufi Master

  1. #161 External life is the shadow of the inner reality. 
    External life is the shadow of the inner reality.

    The outer manifestations of life are so rigid and dense that the secret of their nature and character is buried underneath. Why is the world called an illusion by the mystics? Because the nature of manifestation is such that it envelops its own secret within itself, and appears in such a rigid form that the fineness, beauty and mystery of its character are hidden. Therefore the seekers after the truth of life, the students of life, are of two opposite kinds. The one wishes to learn from outward appearance. The other wishes to find out the secret that is hidden behind it. The one who learns from the external gets the knowledge from the external, which we call science. The one who finds out from the within, from what is hidden in this manifestation, is the mystic. The knowledge he gains is mysticism. ... Every activity of the outer world is a kind of reaction; in other words a shadow of the activity which is behind it and which we do not see

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  2. #162 At the cost of one failure, the wise learn the lesson for the whole of life. 
    At the cost of one failure, the wise learn the lesson for the whole of life.

    It happens very often that we find that a person who has been successful in life goes on being successful, and that one who has once failed goes on failing. Looked at from a psychological point of view, the reason is that the first person was impressed by his success and so he continued to be successful, and the other, who was impressed with his failure, continued to have failures because that impression suggested failure to him. But it is not because of the displeasure of God that unfortunate souls continue to be unfortunate in everything they do. It is that the suggestion of misfortune, of misery, keeps them miserable throughout their lives.
    Reasoning is a faculty which the mystic uses and which he may develop like any man of common sense, any practical man. The difference is only that the mystic does not stop at the first reason, but wishes to see the reason behind all reasons. Thus, in everything, whether right or wrong, the mystic seeks for the reason. The immediate answer, however, will be a reason that does not satisfy him, for he sees that behind that reason there is yet another reason. ... The nature of life is such that it easily excites the mind and makes man unhappy in an instant. It makes man so confused that he does not know where to take the next step. In contrast with this, the mystic stands still and inquires of life its secret; and from every experience, from every failure or success, the mystic learns a lesson. Thus, both failure and success are profitable to him.

    The ideal of a mystic is never to think of disagreeable things. What one does not want to happen one should not think about. A mystic erases from his mind all the disagreeable things of the past. He collects and keeps his happy experiences, and out of them, he makes a paradise. Are there not many unhappy people who keep part of the past before them, causing them pain in their heart? Past is past; it is gone. There is eternity before us.


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  3. #163 The more you evolve spiritually, the further you pass from the understanding of every 
    The more you evolve spiritually, the further you pass from the understanding of every man.

    The average man cannot understand the mystic; and therefore people are always at a loss when dealing with him. His 'yes' is not the same 'yes' that everybody says; his 'no' has not the same meaning as that which everybody understands. In almost every phrase he says there is some symbolical meaning. His every outward action has an inner significance. A man who does not understand his symbolical meaning may be bewildered by hearing a phrase, which is nothing but confusion to him.
    I will tell you something about my own teacher. Once I met a learned man, a doctor of philosophy with a great many degrees. I spoke to him on the deeper side of life and he became so interested in me that he thought much of me. So I thought, 'If I were to tell him about my teacher, how much more interesting that would be for him. If I make such an impression upon this man, how much more my teacher will be for him, and how much will he appreciate my teacher', and I told him, 'There is a wonderful man in this city, he has no comparison in the whole world'. 'Yes?', said he, 'Are there such people? I would so much like to see him. Where does he live?' I told him, in such and such a part of the city. He said, 'I live there too. Where is his house. I know all the people there. What is his name?' So I told him, and he said, 'For twenty years I have known this man, and you are telling me about him!' I thought, 'In a hundred years you would not have been able to know him'. He was not ready to know him.

    If people are not evolved enough they cannot appreciate persons, they cannot understand them, they cannot understand the greatest souls. They sit with them, they talk with them, there is a contact of the whole life, but they do not see. Another person in one moment, if he is ready to understand, makes a benefit out of it. Imagine, the learned man had known my teacher for twenty years and did not know him. I saw him once, and became his pupil forever. One might ask, 'Was this man not learned, not intellectual?' Yes, he was. Then what was lacking? He saw my teacher with his brain, I saw him with my heart. People pursue spirituality with their brain: that is where they are mistaken. Spirituality is attained through the heart.
    The more one evolves the more one will discover the different grades of people, just like the different keys on the piano. One is lower, another is higher. Every person has a different grade of evolution. Also, the higher you evolve the more you will find that you cannot drive everyone with the same whip. You have to speak to everyone differently, in fact in his own language. If you speak a language he does not understand, it will be gibberish to him. ...

    Once when traveling I met a man of a very dense evolution, a soldier who always lived in military surroundings and who had very fixed ideas of his own. And when we were talking together and it appeared that we thought differently about something, I happened to say in order to preserve harmony, 'Well, we are brothers!' He looked at me with great anger, and said, 'Brothers! How dare you say such a thing!' I said, 'I forgot. I am your servant, Sir.' He was very pleased. I could have argued, but this would have created disharmony without reason. The foolishness of that man blazed up just like fire. I put water on it and extinguished it. I did not diminish myself. We are all servants of one another. And it pleased and satisfied him.

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  4. #164 Narrowness is primitiveness; it is the breadth of heart that proves evolution. 
    Narrowness is primitiveness; it is the breadth of heart that proves evolution.

    One person will do something and consider that there is great wisdom in his sacrifice, while another who is not evolved enough to understand it will say, 'How very foolish!' Remember therefore that not only to the wise person the man of little sense seems foolish, but even to the foolish person the wise one seems foolish. The points of view of both are different: one looks from the top of the tower, the other standing on the ground. So there is a vast difference in the range of their sight.

    It is a man's outlook on life which makes him broad or narrow, and it is the grade of his evolution which gives man the illumination of sacrifice. What a man was not inclined to do last year, he may be inclined to do this year; the sacrifice one could not make yesterday, one can make today, for the rate of speed of man's evolution cannot be limited to a particular standard. A broad outlook enriches man and a high point of view ennobles the soul.
    Once you have linked yourself with love, a flood of inspiration is revealed to you, whatever the subject, whatever the problem in life may be. Whatever it be that your eye casts its glance upon, it will disclose itself. Then you are on the real road, and what a joy this is!

    Breadth of heart is what is needed for all this. ... It is the breadth of heart that makes a man great, whereas it is narrowness of heart that makes him small. The great heart does not think about how troublesome a person is, and why he should be bothered like this. It is only the narrow of heart that thinks, 'I will cause him some trouble.' It may be justified, but still it is a narrow thought. The one with a broad heart thinks,' This is a small thing, I can put up with it; not much harm will come from it.'

    The Nizam wrote this verse, 'The width of the land and the water cannot be compared with the width of man's heart. If man's heart is wide enough there is nothing greater than that.' The heart becomes wide by forgetting the self, and narrow by thinking of the self and by pitying one's self. To gain a wide and broad heart you must have something before you to look upon and to rest your intelligence upon, and that something is the God ideal. This is the prescription for killing the self, and to kill the self is the basis of every religion.
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  5. #165 It is simpler to find a way to heaven than to find a way on earth. 
    A person whose soul has awakened becomes awake to everything he sees and hears. ... It is this awakening of the soul which is mentioned in the Bible, 'Unless the soul is born again it will not enter the kingdom of heaven'. Being born again means that the soul is awakened after having come on earth, and entering the kingdom of heaven means that this world, the same kingdom in which we are standing just now, turns into heaven as soon as the point of view has changed. Is it not interesting and most wonderful to think that the same earth we walk on is earth to one person and heaven to another? And it is still more interesting to notice that it is we who change it; we change it from earth into heaven, or we change it otherwise. This change comes not by study, nor by anything else, but only by the changing of our point of view.
    The higher life is so much simpler than life on the surface of the earth, but man does not know what he is. He does not know that he is a drop on the surface of the ocean, and yet an ocean himself in his innermost part; that there is nothing that is not within him. A person who says to himself, 'I do not possess this faculty', 'I cannot put up with this', 'I am sorry but I could not think of such a thing', and so forth, well, all these ideas are his imagination, part of the confusion of his thought and lack of understanding of what he is. If a person understood what he is he would never say, 'I cannot do this.' Instead he would become a real man, that which a man ought to be. The mystic only says, 'I cannot' or 'I have not' very seldom, and he believes these words still less often.

    When God is with you everything is with you; when God is in you everything is in you. Inspiration, knowledge, light, all are then within you. But if you find joy in confusion, if you confuse yourself and keep yourself in darkness, you may do so. However, you have inherited from the heavenly Father His inspiration, His Light, His power. You have inherited might from the Almighty God; you have inherited light from the Light of the universe. Therefore you are blessed with all these things, if you can only open your eyes and see the blessing.


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  6. #166 The lover of nature is the true worshipper of God. 
    The lover of nature is the true worshipper of God.

    A true worshipper of God sees His presence in all forms, and thus in respecting others he respects God. It may even develop to such an extent that the true worshipper of God, the Omnipresent, walks gently on the earth, bowing in his heart even to every tree and plant, and it is then that the worshipper forms a communion with the Divine Beloved at all times, when he is awake and when he is asleep.
    Anyone who has some knowledge of mysticism and of the lives of the mystics knows that what always attracts the mystic most is nature. Nature is his bread and wine. Nature is his soul's nourishment. Nature inspires him, uplifts him and gives him the solitude for which his soul continually longs. Every soul born with a mystical tendency is constantly drawn towards nature; in nature that soul finds its life's demand, as it is said in the Vadan, 'Art is dear to my heart, but nature is near to my soul'. ... Nature does not teach the glory of God; it need not teach this as nature itself is the glory of God. People wish to study astrology and other subjects in order to understand better, but if we study astrology then we are sure to arrive at an interpretation which is given by a man, whereas what we should read from nature is what nature gives us and not what any book teaches us.

    There comes a time with the maturity of the soul when every thing and every being begins to reveal its nature to us. We do not need to read their lives. We do not need to read their theories. We know then that this wide nature in its four aspects is ever-revealing and that one can always communicate with it, but that in spite of this it is not the privilege of every soul to read it. Many souls remain blind with open eyes. They are in heaven, but not allowed to look at heaven; they are in paradise, but not allowed to enjoy the beauties of paradise. It is just like a person sleeping on a pile of gems and jewels. From the moment man's eyes open and he begins to read the book of nature he begins to live; and he continues to live forever.
    'There is One Holy Book, the sacred manuscript of nature, the only scripture which can enlighten the reader.' Most people consider as sacred scriptures only certain books or scrolls written by the hand of man, and carefully preserved as holy, to be handed down to posterity as divine revelation. Men have fought and disputed over the authenticity of these books, have refused to accept any other book of similar character, and, clinging thus to the book and losing the sense of it have formed diverse sects. The Sufi has in all ages respected all such books, and has traced in the Vedanta, Zend-Avesta, Kabbala, Bible, Quran, and all other sacred scriptures, the same truth which he reads in the incorruptible manuscript of nature, the only Holy Book, the perfect and living model that teaches the inner law of life: all scriptures before nature's manuscript are as little pools of water before the ocean.

    To the eye of the seer every leaf of the tree is a page of the holy book that contains divine revelation, and he is inspired every moment of his life by constantly reading and understanding the holy script of nature.



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  7. #167 The pain of life is the price paid for the quickening of the heart. 
    The pain of life is the price paid for the quickening of the heart.

    There is a phrase in the Bible, "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you". The Message of God is an answer to the cry of humanity. Now, as to the instrument of the message -- in reality the whole universe is an instrument, and every object and every being in it is an instrument; through whichever instrument He chooses He gives His message. One sees in one's life, and especially at times when one is deep down in depression and sorrow, some answer coming to the difficulty of that situation. It may come from a friend, from a brother, from parents, from a beloved; even from one's enemy one may get what was necessary at the moment.

    But you will say, "Why should a message come in the life of an individual in the time of pain, or after a great sorrow? Why should not a message come every day for one's guidance?" And there are two reasons for it: One reason is that there is constantly a guidance from above, but man, so absorbed in his life's activities, does not open his heart to listen to that message and to see where it comes from. And the other reason is that the deeper the sorrow the higher the voice of the heart rises, until it reaches the throne of God; and that is the time when the answer comes, when a person is drowned deep in the sorrow and grief. ... Plainly speaking, man's real being is his heart, and in pain the heart becomes living and without pain man seems to be living on the surface. You will often see in life that people with an intolerable nature and manner, after having gone through the agony of pain in life, develop in them a finer nature.
    Those who have avoided love in life from fear of its pain have lost more than the lover, who by losing himself gains all. The loveless first lose all, until at last their self is also snatched away from their hands. The warmth of the lover's atmosphere, the piercing effect of his voice, the appeal of his words, all come from the pain of his heart. The heart is not living until it has experienced pain. Man has not lived if he has lived and worked with his body and mind without heart. The soul is all light, but all darkness is caused by the death of the heart. Pain makes it alive. The same heart that was once full of bitterness, when purified by love becomes the source of all goodness. All deeds of kindness spring from it.
    There is not the slightest doubt that when man has had enough pain in his life he rises to this great consciousness. But it is not necessary that only pain should be the means. It is the readiness on the part of man to efface his part of consciousness and to efface his own personality, which lifts the veil that hides the spirit of God from the view of man.


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  8. #168 Words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels. 
    Words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels.

    Among all the valuable things of this world, the word is the most precious. For in the word, one can find a light which gems and jewels do not possess; a word may contain so much life that it can heal the wounds of the heart. Therefore, poetry in which the soul is expressed is as living as a human being. The greatest reward that God bestows on man is eloquence and poetry. ... There is a Hindu idea that explains this very well: that the vehicle of the goddess of learning is eloquence. Many live, but few think; and among the few who think there are fewer still who can express themselves. Then their soul's impulse is repressed, for in the expression of the soul the divine purpose is fulfilled.
    There are some whose thoughts are like jewels. They are collected and treasured and valued more than diamonds. Sometimes a thought brings us a peace, a joy, in whatever difficulties or sorrows we may be. ... Have you known what it is to give your meal to another and to go without yourself? It gives a happiness that no dinner eaten by yourself can give. Have you known what it is to give your coat to another and do without it yourself? It gives a joy that the satisfaction of your own wants cannot give you. Even that perfect peace and calm which is the eternal life is in man and can be attained by man.


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  9. #169 Love is the current coin of all peoples in all periods. 
    Love is the current coin of all peoples in all periods.

    Love has its time at every stage of life. As a child, as a youth, as an adult, whatever stage of life one has reached, love is always asked for and love always has its part to perform. Whatever situation we are placed in, amongst friends or foes, amongst those who understand us or amongst those who do not, in ease or in difficulty, in all places at all times, it has its part to perform. The one who thinks, 'I must not let the principle of love have its way, I must harden myself against it', imprisons his soul. There is only one thing in the world that shows the sign of heaven, that gives the proof of God, and that is pure, unselfish love. For all the noble qualities which are hidden in the soul will spring forth and blossom when love helps them and nurtures them. Man may have a great deal of good in him and he may be very intelligent; but as long as his heart is closed, he cannot show that nobleness, that goodness which is hidden in his heart. The psychology of the heart is such that once one begins to know it, one realizes that life is a continual phenomenon. Then every moment of life becomes a miracle; a searchlight is thrown upon human nature and all things become so clear that one does not ask for any greater phenomenon or miracle; it is a miracle in and of itself. What one calls telepathy, thought reading, or clairvoyance, and all such things, come by themselves when the heart is open.

    If a person is cold and rigid, he feels within himself as if he were in a grave. He is not living, he cannot enjoy this life for he cannot express himself and he cannot see the light and life outside. What keeps man from developing the heart quality? His exacting attitude. He wants to make a business of love. He says, 'If you will love me, I will love you.' As soon as a man measures and weighs his favors and his services and all that he does for one whom he loves, he ceases to know what love is. Love sees the beloved and nothing else.
    The great teachers and prophets, and the inspirers of humanity of all times have not become what they were by their miracles or wonder-workings; these belong to other people. The main thing that could be seen in them was their loving manner. Read the lives of the prophets. First of all see the way Jesus Christ had with all those who came to him. When sinners who were condemned and expelled by society were brought to the master, he received them with compassion. ... One may ask: How to cultivate the heart quality? There is only one way: to become selfless at each step one takes forward on this path, for what prevents one from cultivating the loving quality is the thought of self. The more we think of our self the less we think of others, and as we go further the self grows to become worse and worse. In the end the self meets us as a giant which we had always fought; and now at the end of the journey the giant is the stronger. But if from the first step we take on the path of perfection we struggled and fought and conquered this giant which is the self, it could be done only by the increasing power of love.


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  10. #170 Cleverness and complexity are not necessarily wisdom. 
    Cleverness and complexity are not necessarily wisdom.

    Man likes complexity. He does not want to take only one step; it is more interesting to look forward to millions of steps. The one who is seeking the truth gets into a maze, and that maze interests him. He wants to go through it a thousand times more. It is just like children. Their whole interest is in running about; they do not want to see the door and go in until they are very tired. So it is with grown-up people. They all say that they are seeking truth, but they like the maze. That is why the mystics made the greatest truths a mystery, to be given only to the few who were ready for them, letting the others play because it was the time for them to play.
    For spiritual attainment we do not need to pay a tax, it is ours, it is our self, it is discovering our self, finding our self. Yet what one values is what one gets with difficulty. Man loves complexity so much! He makes a thing big and says, 'This is valuable'. If it is simple he says, 'It has no value'. That is why the ancient people, knowing human nature, told a person when he said he wanted spiritual attainment, 'Very well; for ten years go around the temple, walk around it a hundred times in the morning and in the evening. Go to the Ganges, take pitchers full of water during twenty or fifty years, then you will get inspiration'. That is what must be done with people who will not be satisfied with a simple explanation of the truth, who want complexity.
    We read in the Vadan, 'Simplicity is the living beauty.' Man today has made life so complex that whatever he seeks after, he wants to find in complexity. All things in life which have importance, beauty and value are simple; and simplest of all things is the divine truth. ... The truth is not a newly invented theory, not a dogma, not an idea; it is reality itself. At the back of it is the self of man; therefore it is simple. But it is not simplicity that man seeks, he is longing for complexity. Anything which will confuse he is glad to take interest in. If it is simple, he says, 'I know it already.'
    Man loves complexity and calls it knowledge. A great many societies and institutions in the world which call themselves occult, esoteric and psychic, and by various other names, knowing that everyone is interested in complexity, cover the truth. Instead of covering the truth with one cover, they cover it with a thousand covers to make it more interesting. ... Therefore, a mystic very often appears to be simple because sincerity makes him feel inclined to express the truth in simple language and in simple ideas. But because people value complexity, they think that what he says is too simple and that it is something which they have always known, that it is nothing new. However, as Solomon said, 'There is nothing new under the sun.'



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